Andy Carter MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group, has called for Ofcom to conduct a review of BBC Sounds, following its plans for a new 24-hour BBC Radio 1 Dance Service.
Yesterday (17 September), the BBC announced plans for an extension of the Radio 1 brand with Radio 1 Dance, which is set to launch on BBC Sounds on 9 October.
Carter is urging for a review due to the BBC investing ‘‘undisclosed’’ sums of licence fee income on expanding a service which is considered ‘‘hardly distinctive’’ and “replicates services already available to listeners”.
He said: “It’s imperative for the future of the BBC that it provides high quality, distinctive content that warrants its significant licence fee income. I am concerned about the serious lack of transparency and scrutiny of the BBC Sounds platform.
“New services like Radio 1 Dance do not appear to meet the important public value tests that the BBC must observe. I hope Ofcom will conduct a thorough review of BBC Sounds as a matter of urgency.”
Siobhan Kenny, CEO of trade body Radiocentre, said: “We were encouraged to hear new Director General Tim Davie emphasise that distinctiveness and true public service value should be at the heart of all BBC content.
“It is disappointing therefore to see this announcement of a new 24 hour dance stream. It is really difficult to understand what qualifies as distinctive in this offering. Commercial radio has a rich catalogue in this area, and is very popular with audiences.”
She added: “We know the BBC is struggling to attract younger audiences but launching in competition to existing, UK-based providers, who rely on advertising revenue rather than public funding, is really not the way ahead. We agree that it is time for an urgent review.”